Saturday, June 23, 2012

Adidas Motion and Gazelle Minimalist Shoes

Adidas were nice enough to send me a couple of pairs of their new Adipure lineup coming out in August. I hope this is putting New Balance to shame! As some of you know, I have an affinity for the Adidas brand because I grew-up with it in the U.K. I get into that subject a little deeper in this other post on my running gadgets. The only reason I focus on NB is because their shoes just seem to fit my feet more consistently than other brands. I don't wear only one brand though because I like to mix it up and try different things. Right now, I wear Vibrams for workouts, New Balance MR00's for short distances, New Balance MT10's for trails and Saucony Kinvara's for long runs. I'm excited to see Adidas getting into a more minimal line of running shoes and trying them out for myself. This Adipure line is not to be confused with the Adipure Trainer shoe with toes.

In my care package, I got a pair of the Adipure Motion in blue (front shoe in this picture) and a pair of the Adipure Gazelle's in red (middle shoe in this picture). I didn't get a pair of the Adapt but I am secretly hoping that they will magically show-up at some point.

The first thing I noticed was how super sexy these shoes are. They are what I have come to expect from a more minimal line of shoes. They sport bright colors, stylish lines and interesting materials. I am not a flashy dresser but I have developed a taste for bold and daring looking running footwear. I'm curious to see how many people comment on them when I wear them. I see similarities in style between the Motion, Gazelle and the New Balance Minimus shoes. The Adapt has similarities to the Saucony Hattori's.

The second thing I noticed was how incredibly light the shoes are. The Motion's are 6.3 oz, the Gazelle's are 5.0 oz and the Adapt's are 4.0 oz. Just to put that in perspective, the New Balance MR00's are 6.1 oz and the Saucony Hattori's are 4.4 oz.

My understanding is that the intention of these shoes is to give a variety of options for people transitioning to more minimal footwear. In theory, if you were a loyalist, you could work your way through this family to the most minimal. The Motion has a 19/27mm stack height (8mm drop) which puts it in the ballpark of the cushioning of Saucony Kinvara's except with more of a drop. I have to say that the added drop doesn't feel like it and maybe the lightness of the shoe (1.5 oz less than the Kinvara's) is a factor. The Gazelle has a 10/16mm stack height (6mm drop) which puts it close to Hattori's for cushioning. Again, the drop isn't as noticeable as you would think. The Adapt is a 9/13mm stack height (4mm drop) which makes it similar padding to the MR00's with a drop. I'm not sure why Adidas kept the drops so high. The Gazelle's could have been a 4mm drop and the Adapt's could have been a zero drop. That would have made the line much more palatable for someone like me who had already transitioned to zero. We'll see how it all plays out.

The first thing I am going to do is wear these shoes for everyday walking. I like to walk around in running shoes for a good while before I run in them. If I don't like the way they feel when I walk, I tend not to want to put many running miles on them. Everyday wear is also a great way to get people to notice them and talk about them. Since I am being treated for a weight training induced calf injury, it's going to be a few weeks until I run in them anyway. Stay tuned for photos and my experience with them.

POST UPDATE  7/10/2012
I give my deeper first impressions here.
http://sponsorthefool.blogspot.com/2012/07/adidas-adipure-collection-initial.html

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Get FREE Mizuno Shoes and Mezamashii

I am fully aware that Mizuno contacted me in order to use this blog to get marketing attention. That's absolutely fine as long as there is a value exchange. This could be a way for some of you to get a free pair of Mizuno shoes and talk about the experience of running. It's not just a minimalist shoe thing, so all running shoe types can look into it. Here's the scoop:


Mizuno has a new campaign. It's called the Mezamashii Run Project. They claim that the project is about creating more euphoric running experiences. I for one can get behind that! The word "mezamashii" means "eye-opening" or "brilliant" in Japanese. In a nutshell, it seems that Mizuno may be lacking exposure in the running community and rather than just bombarding people with expected advertising featuring elite runners, they want to give shoes to key influencers and have their experiences shared via Social Media. Mizuno believe that their shoes deliver Mezamashii to more runners more often than other shoes and are willing to prove it. I think getting real people to try shoes and share their experiences is a strong play (as long as the shoes are good enough). Getting influential runners (who are still everyday people) to do it is even stronger. You can read the details and watch some videos at www.mizunorunningnews.com.

Mizuno Mezamashii Run Project Application Site
Mizuno Mezamashii Run Project Site

The initially mechanics of the program that Mizuno shared go a little like this...
  1. Mizuno is taking applications for people who want to be a part of the program. You can apply here: www.mizunousa.com/mezamashiirunproject. The people who are lucky enough to be accepted will get a free pair of shoes.
  2. These "founding Mezamashii Run Project members" will then be able to invite other people to the project but they will be people who they deem worthy. They too will receive a free pair of Mizuno running shoes.
  3. Mizuno will inspire the Mezamashii Run Project community throughout the year and give them early access to product launches and exclusive Mizuno events, etc.
Obviously, the first phase is about buzz and creating the desire for an invite. No further details are available and I'm curious to see how it will all play out. I have some initial questions:

  • What will Mizuno's definition of "worthy" be?
  • How will they decide which shoes to give applicants?
  • How will they gather the feedback? 
  • Will they launch new shoes as a part of this campaign?
  • Will they be brave and allow honesty in the feedback?
  • How will they distribute the feedback for others to see the proof of Mezamashii?
Being an inquisitive type, I applied myself. I thought that I could be a worthy candidate. In some small way, this blog is meant to inspire others to run and love running. I'll let you know how it goes.

Good luck to you all and let me know if you were successful.
To apply, go to: www.mizunousa.com/mezamashiirunproject

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Fun Run with Scott Jurek

Today, I ran alongside Scott Jurek and Chris McDougal in Lincoln Park and I finished the run ahead of them. It sounds impressive but it was pathetic really. Chris was stopping to take pictures and chat and Scott stopped to high five all the runners.

Just in case you don't know who these people are, I'll give you a quick introduction. Chris McDougal is a journalist and author who wrote the very enjoyable and influential book Born to Run. Scott Jurek is one of the most dominant ultra-marathoners of all time. He has won the Hardrock Hundred, Badwater, The Spartathlon and won the Western States 100 an amazing 7 times in a row. He took silver in the 24 hour World Championships and holds the U.S. record for distance run in 24 hours (165.7 miles). He is a great champion of positive culture in ultra community and is known for staying behind after he wins to cheer all the runners home.

Scott Jurek and The Fool
The fun run was part of Fleet Feet Chicago's Eat and Run event. Fleet Feet is a chain of really cool running stores that are known for their awesome staff and their community involvement. Eat and Run is Scott's new book about his life, his ultra running and his evolution to becoming a vegan. Just as Born to Run was never meant to suggest that everyone should run barefoot, Eat and Run is not intended to force vegan lifestyle on people. It merely offers alternatives and encourages improving and diversifying your diet. Chris McDougal was there to bring fire power from his success with Born to Run. Scott said that Chris was working on a new book and I'd be curious to see what it is about.

The event went like this...
6:30pm - A 3 mile fun run with Scott and Chris in Lincoln Park
7:30pm - Scott and Chris gave a talk in one of the movie theaters (right above Flee Feet)
8:30pm - Scott and Chris signed books

I headed over on the bus and got there just in time. They were smart enough to have an equipment check. I would say around 250+ people decided to run. They were taking groups of people out to a rally point in Lincoln park. When everyone was there, Scott and Chris showed up. They gave a brief welcome, asked us to give a moment of silence for Micah True (Caballo Blanco), a character from Born to Run who recently died. The event raised $3,000 for his fund. Scott is very tall and moves like a lanky puppy. Chris is a giant of a man who daintily runs barefoot. We headed out on a 3 mile loop and I started toward the back of the pack. I hadn't run for a while because of my calf issue, but it held up well enough. In fact, it felt really good to run on fresh legs. After relaxing into it, I decided to pick up the pace because I wanted the experience of running alongside Chris and Scott. I caught up with Chris fairly quickly. He was running on the grass instead of the crushed gravel. He looked like he was having a good time chatting and taking pictures with people. I got a really favorable impression of him from the way he was interacting with folks. I ran faster hoping to catch Scott and was just starting to think that I had missed my opportunity when I noticed him right at the side of the path at the halfway point shouting out "Hey. I made a high five station." It was such a nice gesture. Scott comes across as a really warm and genuine person—just as I imagined. I felt so good at that point that I put some speed into the run and finished really strongly.

Photo courtesy of Scott Jurek on Facebook

Back at Pipers Alley theater, I got my bag, got some free Cliff bars (they were one of the sponsors) and water and then jumped in line to buy Eat and Run and another copy of Born to Run, so that I could get signatures. It was a good call. They sold out and people were disappointed. After the purchase, I headed into the movie theater. They had a giant fan moving air around but with a full house of 400+ people and 250+ of them hot and sweaty after running, the temperature was a little too much. I eventually cooled down with the extra water they handed out. Scott showed a short movie that his friend had made for him to promote Eat and Run. There were a few things in the film that I'm sure the book goes into in more detail that I wasn't aware of. Scott's mother died of multiple sclerosis, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure and he works as a physical therapist. It was 9 mins but you can see a bit of it here:


When Scott and Chris gave a talk, I realized just how funny Chris McDougal is. He really is a great speaker and a fun personality. Scott took a jab at him for eating meat and Chris said that if a plane crashed, he would eat Scott first because he is home grown and organic. It was a fun conversation. Scott said that he had the honor of running with the legendary Ann Trason and that she had beaten him once. He said that Ann came alongside him at around mile 30 of a 100 mile race and said "You don't look so good" and then suggested "You've been running too much" When Scott agreed with her, she said "Oh well, I'll see you later" and she took off to win the race. Scott did another sweet thing which was to bring down two young Amish runners that he had run with and came into town just to see him. Apparently, they were sent to him by Bart Yasso. There is Runners World Article on the subject. Scott and Chris wrapped-up the talk with a strange balance contest and gave away Brooks shoes to the 4 or 5 winners.

When the theater cleared out, many people got in line again to do the book signing. It wasn't a terrible wait and it was well worth it. Scott was really great. I told him about my experience going mostly vegan and coming off asthma meds for the first time in my life. That got me another high five from the legend. He suggested that dairy could have had a lot to do with it and I agreed. He was nice enough to take a photo. I then moved on to Chris. He said "Hi. I'm Chris" like I had no idea who he was. I found him to be super friendly and thoughtful. I thanked him for his book and the inspiration and he took a photo with me too.

Chris McDougal and The Fool

Before leaving, I changed out of my running clothes, caught the 72 bus home. I reflected on the event and it put a smile on my face. I got to run, listen to and take pictures with the author of one of my favorite books and a god of ultra running. Who could ask for more of a Thursday evening? Well, maybe I could. I liked Scott so much, it would be a dream to go running with him and talk to him a little more. He's just that kind of person.

You can pick-up Eat and Run at Amazon right here.


And if you still haven't read Born to Run. You really should.


Subscribe by email